It’s pretty obvious: if you follow me on ANY social media platform [Facebook, Instagram, the blog] chances are you’ve figured out I’m a sports fan. Detroit sports, Michigan State University sports, and pretty much any team or individual sporty-related activity my children are a part of. Sports have always been a big part of my life- so much so I can clearly notice a difference in my own temperament and behavior if I haven’t had some kind of physical release in a day or two that involves sports and/or being physically active. Today that looks like walking, spinning, lifting weights, or floor Pilates- all from home. But for years it was playing hour long soccer and basketball games, or running half-marathons during grad school. WHO WAS THAT KATIE?!
Oddly enough, my sport was NOT basketball. It might be Joey’s bread and butter, but me playing basketball was, well, nothing but comical. Joey is without a doubt a much better athlete, basketball player, and heck, person, than I was at 10-years-old. And while I’m definitely Joey’s biggest cheerleader [Tony’s, Lily’s, and Michael’s too!] I’ve noticed that my mood changes about as fast as the scoreboard does during Joey’s games.
Ooops. Yep. I’m that Mom.
Joey was dragging his feet going in as an underdog to a few basketball games this weekend. While I’m often the hype-Mom for Joe, I was feeling down myself and called in some reinforcements- I had multiple friends share words of wisdom to try and pump our Joe up. The overarching theme of these suggestions was this: HAVE FUN. Try a move you haven’t done before. Keep perfecting a skill. And know that on the other side of this hard game is a lot of growth and progress. WE CAN DO HARD THINGS!
I don’t know about you, but it’s easy for me to lose sight of the reason for youth sports. Sure, I want my child to win. Oh, you better believe Mom has more than a few choice words for Mr. Joey when he doesn’t cover the baseline or follow his shot. But what if winning wasn’t about numbers on the scoreboard, the stat sheet, or the team record? What if winning was instead seeing your child high-five a friend who missed a free throw. What if it’s seeing your child cheer on fellow teammates even when they’re down 30 because that’s just what you do.
Let’s not forget sports teach both parents and kids lessons like discipline, time management, goal setting, and problem-solving. It’s special to see the light-bulb moments happen like when Joey discovered the importance of practice and the dedication that comes along with showing up for your teammates- even when you don’t have the energy to do so. I firmly believe these skills will come in handy not only in sports but also in school, relationships, and future endeavors.
At the end of the day, sports are more than just a game for my family. In some of my darkest moments post-divorce, sports have given me that sense of community and connection when I’ve felt unwanted or unworthy. Sports are also one of the healthiest outlets for my children because when the noise level goes up in the house, Mom ships everyone outside. Hence while you’ll often find a crew of kids playing front yard football no matter what the temp. And yes, Lily is often the quarterback!
What are your thoughts on youth sports?! Are you a family that goes all in with travel or more relaxed with recreational leagues?